Cyprus President addresses EU historic meeting in Athens
by Maria Koniotou--
Athens, Apr 16 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today that the Republic's accession to the European Union will not halt efforts for a political settlement and stressed his firm commitment to do all he can towards achieving a peaceful, workable and lasting solution.
The Cypriot President, addressing heads of state and government at the signing ceremony of the Accession Treaty, assured EU leaders that Cyprus' presence within the Union will not be problematic. He expressed regret that the artificial walls of division prevent the Turkish Cypriots from moving along the course towards Europe. Papadopoulos extended special thanks to the Greek Presidency, the EU member-states, the Commission and the European Parliament for the invaluable help they offered Cyprus during its accession course. The full text of President Papadopoulo's address follows: In the long and chequered nine thousand years of Cyprus history, the signing of the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union constitutes a crowning landmark of moral vindication of the past and a hopeful starting point of political achievement in the future. This momentous event justifies the great joy and deep emotion I feel at this historic moment, when I am called upon, as President of the Republic of Cyprus, to sign the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union. The same intense joy and emotion is shared by all the people of Cyprus, who justifiably interpret the signing of the Treaty as a vindication of their hard work, their sacrifices and their dreams, in their long and strenuous efforts to join united Europe. I regret that the artificial walls of division and the line of separation that was imposed by force prevent our Turkish Cypriot compatriots from proceeding with us, within the framework of a reunited Cyprus, on the way to Europe. As President of the Republic of Cyprus, I reiterate, from this forum as well, at this historic moment of the signing of the Treaty, my firm commitment to exert every effort to achieve a peaceful, workable and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, which will reunite the people and the country that are divided today, in a united, and now enlarged, European Union. And this commitment is not simply a declaration of intent; it is a substantial confirmation of an unyielding position. In Athens, the birthplace of democracy, and the cradle of European civilisation, in the shade of the sacred rock of Acropolis, the guardian of universal principles throughout the ages, and in the light of the Parthenon, symbol of freedom of the spirit, the enlargement of the European Union is signed today and a new chapter in the history and the course of a renewed Europe is being opened. In the collective effort of an enlarged European Union to face effectively the escalating challenges and demands of our time, small Cyprus is committed to make its own contribution. Cyprus commits itself to undertake and fulfil all the obligations that its accession to the European Union entails. The Cyprus question will not make Cyprus presence in the European Union a problem. Nor does accession itself means that we shall give up our sincere efforts to resolve the problem. On the contrary, we now feel that it is all the more imperative to multiply our efforts to achieve a workable solution that will allow the implementation of the acquis communautaire throughout the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, and will reverse the tragic division of our country in united Europe. On behalf of all the Cypriot people, I express warm thanks to the Greek Presidency, the member-states of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament for their valuable help in Cyprus European Union course, and for offering Cyprus the possibility to accede where it belongs historically, geographically, politically and culturally. | CNA MM/MK/GP/2003 ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY 16/04/2003